Love is a tricky thing. When we do it well and we suffer loss, it brings us pain.
By happenstance, I connected with several people who were going through losses. Some permanent. Some temporary.
The parent of a friend passed away last week and we went to the memorial service yesterday. It was beautiful. Joyful even. Memories shared. Stories. Promises to make him proud and to watch over the family left behind.
I was struck by the sheer number of people there. People whose lives had been touched by him either directly or by the extension of his family. And while I didn’t know him, I knew that his was a life well-lived.
I also talked to a friend whose daughter is heading off to college in the fall. While she will be coming back on break and maybe some weekends, her loss will be felt by her parents and siblings.
When we love, sometimes we lose. It may come in the form of death or divorce. It may be that someone moves away and you don’t get to see them as often as you would like. There may be an argument or a disagreement that causes separation in a relationship.
The point is, even with the pain and potential for loss, I have to believe that cultivating relationships and loving fully and openly is imperative to leading a joyful life. If I fail to love because I’m afraid of being hurt, I begin to isolate myself which is never a good idea.
When I unfold myself, when I’m vulnerable, I open myself to the joy only love can give. The joy of making memories with loved ones. The joy of laughter with people who know you well. The celebration of milestones and knowing that no matter what, your people are always there when you need them.
I hope today, you will choose love. Sure, it has the potential to bring heartache but the joy it brings over the long haul far outweighs the pain potential. And if you are one of the lucky ones who already have lots of love in your life, reach out and express your gratitude to those who have brought it in. That’s the thing about love. It’s limitless.